Former world champions Brandon Rios and Humberto Soto look to extend their boxing careers when they square off in an All-Mexican affair on February 23, 2019, at the Municipal Auditorium Faustino Gutierrez Moreno in Tijuana, Mexico.
Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios
After taking one and a half year off after his loss to Timothy Bradley in 2015, Brandon Rios returned to action by knocking out fringe contender Aaron Herrera. He then stepped up to face Danny Garcia but lost by knockout but revived his career again with a 9th round TKO of Canelo’s brother Ramon Alvarez last November. Although his best days are clearly behind him, Rios believes his exciting style and big punch can still get him one more crack at another world title.
The 32-year old former lightweight world champion has a professional record of 35-4-1 with 26 wins by way of knockout. Bam Bam stands 5-8 with a reach of 78 inches while fighting out of the orthodox style. Like his nickname suggests, Rios loves to brawl and in fact it’s what he does. He has power in both hands and has one of the most durable chins in the business.
Brandon Rios vs Humberto Soto Odds
Odds from bet365 as of 2/20/19
Humberto “La Zorrita” Soto
Two-division world champion Humberto Soto has also seen his glory days pass him by. He’s currently on a three fight winning streak but he’s done so against low-level competition. Soto has been outside the radar for quite some time now as he’s extended his career byg fighting mostly in Mexico and beating up unknown fighters. Soto’s a well-traveled veteran who’s fought the likes of Jorge Solis, Kevin Kelley, Rocky Juarez, Joan Guzman, Gamaliel Diaz, David Diaz, Urbano Antillon, Lucas Matthysse, John Molina Jr. and Antonio Orozco.
Soto is an orthodox fighter who measures 5-7 ½ with a reach of 69 inches. He has a professional boxing record of 68-9-2 with 36 win via knockout. Soto has been fighting for two decades and has been there and done that. However, Soto never got the biggest of fights during his prime and lost to every big name he’s faced. This is a crossroads fight for Soto. If he wins this, he will return to the big stage but another defeat to a big name will put his career hanging in the balance.
This is a crossroads fight between two former world champions who are clearly fighting past their primes. But between the 38-year old Soto and the 32-year old Rios, it’s pretty obvious that one of them is way past his prime and his fighting years.
Humberto Soto was one of the best fighters in the smaller weight classes during the start of the new millenium, winning world titles in the super featherweight and lightweight divisions. But at an era where the money was at 147 pounds, Soto tried to get to that division but ended up getting stuck at light welterweight. The knockout loss to Lucas Matthysse in 2012 proved that he had reached his limit and since then, Soto has been fighting to survive and keep his career going.
Don’t be fooled by his record as Soto has gone 10-1 since losing to Matthysse. But at 79 fights, Soto has always been known to pad his record. There are only two notable fighters on Soto’s resume in his last 11 bouts and they are John Molina Jr. and Anthony Orozco. He beat Molina but lost to Orozco both by unanimous decision.
On the other hand, Rios has lost half of his last eight bouts. But while Bam Bam has fought only once from 2016-2017, he’s fought world class caliber fighters in his last eight fights, losing only to Mike Alvarado, Manny Pacquiao, Timothy Bradley and Danny Garcia during that stretch. Bam Bam’s last five wins have come via knockout but he only has two wins since 2017. Like Soto, Rios began fighting at the lower weight classes as he won his only world title at 135 pounds. But unlike Soto, Rios adjusted well to fighting at light welterweight and carried his punching power up to 140 pounds.
The problem with Rios is that he is a walking punching bag. No question, he owns a granite chin that withstood 12 rounds of pounding from the likes of Mike Alvarado and even Manny Pacquiao. But sometimes, his only form of defense is his face and against the better boxers in the sport, it’s always almost very easy to beat Rios on points. This is where Humberto Soto becomes dangerous, if you call it that. Soto is a fundamentally gifted fighter who has very high IQ. For sure, Soto is the much better boxer than Rios and if he can stay away from trouble, he has the ability to outbox Rios all night long.
But staying away from the action is almost impossible against Rios. Bam Bam is one of the best pressure fighters in the sport. With pressure comes punching power and when he lures you into a brawl, that’s when opponents get in trouble. As we said earlier, Rios is very durable and against Soto who doesn’t possess the same pop in his punches, I think Rios will try to smother him.
Rios is going to apply that pressure right from the get go and try to take Soto’s head off. Soto has excellent defense but at this stage of his career and against a naturally bigger man in Rios, this could easily be a disaster fight for Soto who has acknowledged that this may be a do or die fight for him. Humberto Soto is a true Mexican warrior. If he is going to lose this fight, he is going to do so fighting.
I’m picking Brandon Rios to win this fight by knockout. Soto is the better boxer, has better all-around skills but does not have the pop in his punches to hurt Rios. Rios is younger, bigger, faster and has the knockout punch. If Soto can’t hurt him, Bam Bam is going to swarm him all night long. That said, I’m picking Brandon Rios to beat Humberto Soto by knockout.